Makati Medical Center fire further highlights the health and safety hazards posed by squatter colonies

makati_med_fire01Just when you think squatters and the waste they dump in Manila’s storm drains have already been discussed to death enough, suddenly another risk posed to health and safety by the proliferation of “informal settlers” all over the Philippines’ premier metropolis has emerged: fire.

This was highlighted in a huge blaze that erupted next to the Makati Medical Center in Makati City which attracted a General Alarm, reportedly “the highest fire alarm system and requires that all firetrucks from the National Capital Region respond to the blaze.”

At least 300 families, mostly illegal settlers, residing in the affected area will however be temporarily transferred either under the Skyway or in a vacant lot across Makati Medical Center, said [Makati Mayor Junjun] Binay.

Meanwhile, a fire whose alarm has been raised to Task Force Alpha, also hit Bagtikan Street in Makati, injuring two. The victims were brought to St. Claire Medical Center in Makati and Ospital ng Makati.

Binay said the illegal settlers are set to be transferred even before the fire incident, noting of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s existing program to clear the waterways. Binay added the compound razed by the fire should remain open as it is part of Napocor’s line. The Makati government will give each homeowner initial money and the long-term housing plan will be carried out by the National Housing Authority.

“Hindi maaalis ang speculation na kaya nasunog ay dahil gusto sila paalisin. But we’re open to investigation,” Binay said.


Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Many people have long speculated that many of the occasional fires that raze Manila’s vast squatter shantytowns were deliberately lit to fast track relocation of their illegal residents. This is not a farfetched scenario considering the country’s recently-enacted squatter protection laws that make eviction of these “informal settlers” a hopelessly convoluted and often messy undertaking.

This also comes at a time when big property developers are in the midst of a building frenzy, erecting monstrous retail complexes and casinos all over the city, often on land once reserved for public parks and without considering the impact on the city’s already horrendous traffic situation. columnist in Neal Cruz in a recent article laments the wanton destruction of the few remaining parks in Metro Manila which he collectively describes as “the lungs of the city” that “absorb the pollution of the thousands of vehicles and produce oxygen that living things need.”

Instead of stealing these lungs, why don’t they start with the squatter colonies on the other side of Quezon Avenue? But City Hall and land developers are afraid of squatters, so they would rather grab open spaces like the parks, the golf course, and the Seedling Bank.

Considering this solution sounds so obvious, it is hardly surprising that it is not the preferred solution of the country’s powers that be.

[Photo credits: @myroyalhonee and @YouScoop.]

12 Replies to “Makati Medical Center fire further highlights the health and safety hazards posed by squatter colonies”

  1. Some of the squatter areas I believe were originally planned to be parks. For example, this place called “Boracay” at the back of SSS in Quezon City, along Matapang Street, is supposed to be a park.

    And before this fire incident, I never knew there was a squatter colony at the back of Makati Med. I don’t often go to Makati.

    1. I went right by that area week before last, and I was also surprised to see squatters there. Not the least bit surprised, however, to see that it has rapidly been cleared. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

  2. it seems that Metro-Manure is already over-crowded already. Raising vertical towers for people to live in is the only solution, but first the squatters must be removed. and it seems that with the laws protecting them just enacted, SOMEONE/SOMETHING has figured out that the only thing to do is to burn down the shanty-towns?
    The country continues to be as dangerous a place as many in the West, maybe even worse.
    Whatta HELL-HOLE! Leave NOW, if you can.
    I hate to say it but there seems to be little hope for the country.

    1. Hindi rin masasabi na sinadya talaga yung sunog. Dati rin akong nakatira sa squatters area, madalas nagkakaron ng maliliit na sunog dahil sa mga sala-salabat na jumper. hanggang sa dumating ung panahon na di na naagapan ung pagdami ng tao kaya humirap na rin pag-apula ng apoy. Ayun tupok!

      Fiesta ang mga cable companies, meralco at maynilad. Nabawasan ung mga illegal consumers

  3. I agree that these squatter area’s are targeted and burned to move them out but how long have these communities had these squatters. Developing other area’s besides Manila would help also, Manila is way overcrowded and overdeveloped, municipalities have very few developments or restaurants or factories, government offices are all in Manila, they won’t move, they need to.

  4. Hindi ako papariyan para manirahan, o magtatrabaho, dito lang ako sa Probinsya, magtatanim ng kamote. 🙂

    sad story to read but they gotta go one way or another… tsk tsk tsk…

    this again, will all boil down to “change”…

  5. Inaalagaan talaga nila Binay ang mga iskwater. Marami na rin sila na-relocate sa Laguna. Pero pag eleksiyon, sa Makati pa rin sila bumoboto at sa Ospital ng Makati nagpapagamot ng libre. Maraming senior citizens na wala na rin Makati ay doon pa rin bumoboto.

  6. Sana ung mga buildings dito sa pinas parang ung mga buildings ng Terran sa starcraft… papaliparan lang nila at dun sila mag land sa mga lote nga mga squatters bwahahahahaha

  7. Hi. I’m new to this forum and came across it a couple of weeks ago. I think it turned up after doing a search on some subject matter related to Philippine culture and society.

    I used to post on SCF many years ago, and I seen some familiar names here that may have been members of the group.

    Anyway, squatters have always boggled me. At first I was very sympathetic towards them, but the longer I lived in the Philippines, the less they made sense. I hate to generalize, but I do see some common behaviors and attitudes such as hopelessness, laziness, lack of initiative, to name a few. I live in Cavite and do not like these “resettlement” areas that are notorious for crimes. In fact, crime has increased as a result of these new squatter residents.

    I guess it’s obvious to the average person in the Philippines why squatters are permitted. There’s definitely something wrong with the political system.

    Anyway, I do enjoy this forum/website and am glad to find that I’m not alone in my views.

  8. from san antonio village, i always pass that area because you need to go around peoplesupport building before you could go to salcedo. its almost impossible not to notice- very few electric meters by the entrance post, you can almost count it by hand and to think there are about 400+ homes inside all with electricity… most of them are illegal i assume.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.